Human rights treaty body engagement
As a national human rights institution, the Commission has a role in engaging with United Nations human rights mechanisms, including the UN Human Rights Council, treaty bodies and special procedures (such as special rapporteurs).
This role is independent of the Government and also independent of non-government organisations.
In 2018–19, the Commission engaged with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This included through making submissions to the committees setting out the Commission’s views on the current status of implementation of the relevant treaties (as ratified and supported by Australia) and identifying priorities for reform into the future.
In February 2019, the National Children’s Commissioner attended consultations in Geneva convened by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about Australia’s progress in implementing the convention. The full review of Australia will occur in September 2019, alongside Australia’s review by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities around the same time.
The Commission will also submit information to the Committee Against Torture in 2020, ahead of Australia’s next review under that treaty.
Engagement as a national human rights institution regionally and globally
The President of the Commission is also the Chair of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (the APF). This is the regional body comprised of national human rights institutions across the Asia-Pacific region.
In her capacity as Chair of the APF, the President also sits as a member of the Bureau of the Global Alliance of NHRIs. This is the collegiate body of NHRIs across the globe. The Bureau is, in effect, the board of the organisation and guides the advocacy, capacity building and UN engagement by GANHRI.
Through these leadership roles the Commission has:
- contributed to the effective, efficient and strategic management of the APF and GANHRI
- strengthened our relationships with NHRIs in the region and globally through information sharing and exchanges of technical knowledge
- advocated for NHRIs within the UN system and encouraged NHRI engagement with the international human rights system.
The Commission has also strengthened its relationship with the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights. With the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Commission participated in a number of events including the 2018 AICHR Regional Dialogue on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Third Annual Australia-AICHR Human Rights Dialogue and the 2019 AICHR Interregional Dialogue on Business and Human Rights.